June 25 - July 1, 2017: Issue 318


The bell-tower and the church of St. Euphemia seen from the waterfront.


By George Repin

Rovinj is a popular tourist resort, as well as an active Croatian fishing port, on the west coast of the triangular Istrian peninsula, on the eastern shore of the northern part of the Adriatic Sea between the Gulf of Trieste and the Gulf of Kvarner. Apart from a small area around Trieste, which is Italian, and a section of Slovenia in the north stretching across to the Adriatic, the Istrian peninsula is part of the present Republic of Croatia. 

The Istrian Peninsula

Rovinj/Rovigno was already a settlement of Illyrian or Venetian tribes when Istria was conquered by the Romans in 177 BCE. It remained a minor outpost for the Romans, and when the Roman Empire divided, it was incorporated into the Byzantine Empire.  Rovinj fell to the Venetians in 1283 and was one of the most important towns in Istria governed by the Republic of Venice until the fall of Venice in 1797.  It then became part of the Austrian Empire continuing until World War I.  From 1918 to 1947 it belonged to the Kingdom of Italy when it was ceded to Yugoslavia as part of Croatia.

The Venetians fortified Rovinj with two rows of defensive walls, the remains of which can still be seen, and constructed three town gates.  One of these gates – the Balbi’s Arch dating from 1680 – opens off what is now Piazza Marshall Tito where there is also a late-Renaissance clock tower.  Evidence of the presence of the Venetians, the Venetian Lion, can still be seen throughout the town. 

Balbi's Arch - one of the three surviving gates in the town wall.

Keystone with turbaned Ottoman head on entrance to Balbi's Arch from Piazza Marshall Tito.

Keystone with head on the other side of Balbi's Arch.

The Venetian clock tower displaying the Lion of Venice, on Piazza Marshall Tito.

The boat harbour next to the Piazza Marshall Tito.

Insignia above entrance to Municipal administrative offices. Note the Lion of Venice.

A tangle of cobbled streets leads to the hilltop church of St. Euphemia whose towering bell-tower dominates the skyline. The narrow street which visitors climb to reach the church attracts young art students.

A typical cobbled street.

Group of tourists in the background walking up to the Church of St. Euphemia with art students in the foreground.

Art students.

The three-nave church St. Euphemia, the largest Baroque building in Istria, was built between 1725 and 1736 over the remains of older, earlier Christian structures. It houses the marble tomb of St. Euphemia who was tortured by Emperor Diocletian and thrown to the lions in 304 CE.  The Saint’s relics are preserved in a Roman sarcophagus from the 6th Century CE, which was in Constantinople for several centuries before appearing, without explanation, in Rovinj.

The Church of St. Euphemia.

The altar behind which the sarcophagus of the Saint is located.

The bell-tower, resembling the tower of St. Mark’s in Venice was built earlier – 1654-1680.  The statue of the patron saint on top of the tower is placed on bearings so that it revolves with the wind, serving as a wind vane.

The Bell Tower of St. Euphemia.

According to the Istria Tourist Board, Rovinj/Rovigno is the second biggest tourist destination in the county. During the summer season a high speed ferry links Venice and Rovinj/Rovigno.  Although hotel rooms are abundant in the town they are usually overbooked in the summer months.
The town is officially bilingual (Italian and Croatian) so both names – Rovinj and Rovigno are official and equal.  

(Photographs by George Repin in 2014)

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service  Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino  Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant  Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre   Around Angkor - 1963   Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross  The Oceaographic  Museum  in Monaco  The Island of Elba  Russian Fairy Tale Plates  Meteora  Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska  Cloisonné  Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories  Not A Chagall!  Did You Listen? Did You Ask?  Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand  Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells  Murano  University of Padua  Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi   Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park   Aphrodisias   The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children  Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre   Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island    ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997  Hotere Garden Oputae  Children of the Trobriand Islands  Page Park Market - Rabaul  Rabual   Kotor, Montenegro   Galleries of Photographs I   Lascaux  Galleries of Photographs II   The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia  Ivan Meštrović  - Sculptor   Delphi   Gallery of Photographs III  The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point  San Simeon - "Hearst Castle"  Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982  Russian New Year  Mycenae  "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska  The White Pass and Yukon Route  Totem Poles  Tivkin Cemetery  Krka National Park - Croatia   Tavistock Square and the BMA  Orthodox Easter  Wieliczka Salt Mine  A Walk on Santorini  Indonesian Snapshots Ephesus - The Library of Celsus  Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest  Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958  A Miscellany of Flower Images Gardens Bath St. David's In Wales   Zion National Park Nicholas Himona - Artist  Kraków  Lilianfels  Collonges-La-Rouge  Gingerbread Houses   Cape Sounion   Delos  Wroclaw  Colonial Williamsburg  Gruyères   Strasbourg  Coventry Cathedral  The Roman Theatre at Aspendos  Turkish Carpets The Duomo of Orvieto  

Copyright George Repin 2017. All Rights Reserved.